Making sense of the polls

Making sense of the polls

Polls Show Some Movement to Labor

On Tuesday, Newspoll put Labor ahead by a 53-47 margin over the Coalition, a 2% swing to Labor from the previous Newspoll four weeks ago. Rounding in both these two Newspolls has been generous to Labor. Here are this week’s three polls.

polls Oct.

The surprise in this week’s polls is that Newspoll has Labor doing better than Morgan. Morgan leans to Labor by about 1.5% relative to other polls, so a 52-48 to Labor from Morgan is effectively only 50.5% Two Party Preferred (2PP) to Labor from another pollster. It is likely that Newspoll detected some real movement to Labor, but that the sample was also too favourable for Labor.

Kevin Bonham’s poll aggregate is now at 51.6% 2PP to Labor, up from 51.0% last week. The Poll Bludger’s BludgerTrack is at 51.1% 2PP to Labor, up from 50.1% last week. Primary votes are 40.5% for the Coalition, 35.3% for Labor, 12.0% for the Greens and just 3.3% for Palmer United Party (PUP). On primary votes, last week saw a shift of 2.0% away from the Coalition, with the Greens and especially “Others” the beneficiaries.

It is likely that Labor’s fortunes have improved somewhat because of the fading of the terrorist threat as a hot issue. Although most Australians still recognise the terrorist threat, it is not as potent now as it was a month ago when arrests were dramatically made in Sydney. The terrorist atrocities have mainly occurred in Iraq and Syria, which are not part of the established Western world; as a result, most voters do not pay attention to atrocities there in the same way they would if a terrorist atrocity occurred in London, Los Angeles or Melbourne. The overnight terrorist attack on the Canadian Parliament will have a greater impact.

Update Friday night 24 October: A ReachTEL robopoll for Seven News taken last night has Labor’s lead at 52-48, up from 51-49 five weeks ago. Further details have not yet been provided. This poll was taken on the night following the Canadian terrorist attacks. It lends support to the small swings to Labor seen in the other polls.

There is some good news for poll watchers, with Fairfax joining with Ipsos, an international polling company, to do Federal and State polls. Since July, when Nielsen left the polling industry, there have been no Fairfax commissioned polls. Ipsos has a strong international reputation.

Notes on These Polls

  • Newspoll had Abbott’s satisfied rating down 3% to 38% and his dissatisfied rating up 1% to 53% for a net approval of -15, down from -11 four weeks ago. Shorten’s ratings also dropped to a net approval of -11, down from -5. I think Shorten is suffering because left wing voters are disappointed with his me-too stance on terrorism related measures. Newspoll had 63% who said that Abbott should “confront” Putin at the G20, with only 27% disagreeing. Note that the poll used confront, not shirtfront.

  • This week Morgan’s respondent allocated preferences were also 52-48 to Labor, a 1% gain for the Coalition on this measure since last fortnight.

  • According to Essential‘s voters, the only economic issue that has become better over the last year is company profits by a net margin of 12 points. All other issues have become worse by net margins of 27 and 28 points for wages and personal financial situation up to 60 and 66 points for electricity costs and costs of living. By a 66-14 margin, voters approve of voluntary euthanasia if a person is terminally ill and in severe pain. 58% thought the Australian government was doing enough to fight Ebola, with 21% disagreeing. Sending medical personnel to fight Ebola in West Africa was only supported by a tepid 44-41 margin.

State Polling

The monthly ReachTEL Queensland poll had the Liberal National Party (LNP) leading by 51-49, unchanged from September. The big story is PUP’s decline from over 15% in July to just 7% now, but in the latest poll PUP support appears to have gone to Labor and the Greens rather than the LNP - the LNP’s primary vote lead over Labor is down from 5% in September to 4% now.

The July to September WA Newspoll showed a 50-50 tie, unchanged from the April to June Newspoll.